Finding the Perfect Designer

When choosing a designer, you want to prioritize all the things:

  • Be easy to work with
  • Have extensive industry experience
  • Know your process
  • Be able to show a portfolio of work
  • Be detail oriented
  • Be goal oriented

But finding that person who hits all those marks and falls within your budget isn’t always easy for an artist, a freelancer, or a small business. We were lucky to have one of those designers cross our path last year when we put together our Creative Boost: Strategies to Boost Your Design Thinking Skills workshop. Norm Shearer is Chief Creative Officer at Cactus, an award-winning, Denver-based design agency. Immediately, we recognized Norm’s skill, expertise, and process, and we wanted to continue working with him.

Creative Boost with Norm Shearer

Since that workshop, Norm mentored one of our Creative Accelerator participants who was looking to quickly learn and boost her skills. She wanted to graduate from junior designer to stand-out team member, in pursuit of becoming Creative Director.

Again, we were impressed by Norm’s professionalism, patience with a junior designer, and genuine willingness to teach and cultivate creativity. He has extensive industry experience and proved to be an invaluable part of our participant’s team of mentors. We decided to create an opportunity to share Norm’s talent, process, and knowledge with the Front Range creative community, so we asked him to build out a Creative Community Course.

Being Creative

At the core of Norm’s philosophy is the notion that everyone needs to be creative. Creative is not exclusive to designers and copywriters, but is integral to an entire team. Creativity is about solving problems in unexpected ways and creating advantages.

“If everyone is doing their job, they are being creative. It’s about being resourceful and connecting dots in a way that’s unexpected or different.”

Norm Shearer

So, what if YOU could be your perfect designer? Too far of a stretch of thought? Well, what if you could at least learn enough about design and branding to better understand how to recognize, hire, and work with the perfect designer for you? It’s possible!

According to Norm, the best designers know a little bit about copy, and the best copywriters know a little bit about design. The same goes for web dev and web design too. In both fields, projects are increasingly a collaborative effort, and many employers require a true team effort and a but of cross-functional work from their designers and their writers.

50% Strategy %50 Design

Norm approaches branding and other creative design work as more than just design. It’s got to be 50% design and 50% strategy. You don’t have to be the designer to contribute to the design project. And the designer has to incorporate the function of the messaging into the design. Both have to work together to craft a strategy and work towards a functional, aesthetically pleasing design.

We kept collaboration in mind when building our Winter 2019 C3 course, and we strongly encourage anyone who wants to be better in their role on a creative team, or anyone seeking to be a creative director someday, to take the course. You will learn how designers do their jobs, just as much as you will learn by doing the job.

Branding Design 2019

Expect to learn a little about the history of branding design and current trends. Then learn Norm’s process and share your own as you complete your branding project. You can bring in the projects you are currently working on, or you can start one in the course.

Along the way, Norm and your classmates will provide feedback and critique, and Norm will provide mini technical exercises to hone your skills and challenge your creative thinking.

We created our 2019 Winter Community Creative Course for business owners, freelancers, creatives, entrepreneurs, designers, students, and anyone who knows a little bit about design and wants to dive deep into being creatively challenged.

Class is held at Cactus on Wednesday evenings from 6pm-8pm and runs for 8 weeks starting February 20, 2019. Sign up now because we have two seats left at our intro discounted rate. Class is capped to 10 students to keep things small and maximize your learning.

About Your Instructor

With over 20 years of experience in the business, Norm’s blue-collar, “work hard, play hard” approach to creative has earned Cactus accolades from Cannes, The One Show, SXSW and countless others.

Norm Shearer, CCO Cactus

Norm shares his ample knowledge (and Dad jokes) as a guest lecturer in his spare time, speaking on creative thinking and design. He served as an Adjunct Professor for eight years at his alma mater, CU Boulder, and was named Alumni of the Year for CU’s Advertising and Journalism School in 2013.


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